Faculty of Engineering and Informatics/IRC in Polymer Engineering (July 2015)



A three-year industrially sponsored PhD studentship in the field of polymer engineering is available at the University of Bradford. The researcher will work on a collaborative project between the University and Floreon Transforming Packaging Ltd (http://floreon.com) to develop new biobased polymer compounds.


Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biobased and biodegradable polymer that is currently used primarily in disposable packaging and textile applications, where the low glass transition temperature of the material (around 55-60 °C) is not an issue. Further enhancements to the properties of PLA will open up new applications for this material allowing it to compete with oil based polymers like ABS and polystyrene. The industrial partner (Floreon) have recently had patents granted internationally for a range of PLA based formulations with enhanced mechanical properties and processing characteristics.


The remaining challenge is to further develop a range of PLA based compounds with not only excellent mechanical properties but excellent heat resistance as well. This will be achieved through a range of strategies including control of the stereochemistry of lactic acid (which has a direct effect on PLA crystallinity) and the use of nucleating agents and other additives.


The processing of PLA based compounds with other bioplastics and additives will be characterised in standard manufacturing processes (injection moulding, blown film extrusion, sheet extrusion) in order to develop a range of readily processable, high performance PLA based compounds for semi/durable applications. A wide range of polymer processing and characterisation techniques are available in the world class IRC Polymer Engineering Laboratories at Bradford.


The successful applicant is expected to have, or shortly receive, a 2.1 or First Class Honours degree in a relevant Engineering or Materials Science subject, preferably with some experience in polymers.


To be eligible for a full award, applicants must be a UK or EU National.


Please send a CV with the names of two academic referees to Dr Adrian Kelly, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP; or by e-mail to A.L.Kelly@Bradford.ac.uk.


The closing date is Friday 28th August 2015.

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